Amazing Grace: Was Blind, But Now We See

November 11, 2017 adopting a boy, cataracts, China trip, congenital blindness, cytomegalovirus, IEP, nystagmus, Sensory System, strabismus, vision issues, vision loss 3 Comments

Blind. I immediately recoiled. We had checked a lot of things on our medical conditions checklist, and I remember vision being one of them, but blind? How could we deal with that? I studied art history and archaeology in college, and work in a very visual field. How could I share the most important and …Read More

Fighting to Slow Down

October 21, 2017 attachment challenges, developmental delays, Developmental System, discipline, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, feeding/swallowing therapy, IEP, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, oral-motor delays, refusing food, seizures, Sensory Processing Issues, sign language, speech delay, speech therapy 2 Comments

“Wow, you’re really quick!” It was one of the first thoughts I had about my daughter. We were standing in the provincial civil affairs office. The nanny from the orphanage had just placed her in my arms. I tried to hold her facing me and she spun around to face outward with a speed I’d …Read More

“A Little Bit Naughty”: Misunderstood Special Needs

October 19, 2017 ADHD, adopting a boy, age assignment, developmental delays, Developmental System, IEP, Newly Home, October 2017 Feature - Developmental, public school, Sensory Processing Issues 2 Comments

One and a half years ago my husband and I, seasoned parents with three pre-teen/teenage biological daughters, flew across the globe to China to meet our four-year-old son, Asher. He was in the Special Focus program and his special need was Developmental Delay. Being that DD is such a common and global term associated with …Read More

“It’s Just the Way God Made Me”

September 11, 2017 amputation, Education, limb difference, missing fingers/toes, Orthopedic, prosthetics, public school, September 2017 Feature - Visible Special Needs, visible special need 7 Comments

Anna Grace is five years old. She loves all things Disney and princesses. Her favorite outings are to the zoo, museum, or playground. She takes dance class and swimming lessons. When she grows up, she wants to be a doctor, dance teacher, singer, or dog trainer. She loves playing outside with her friends, especially if …Read More

More Than the Girl with the White Hair

September 4, 2017 albinism, Family Stories, IEP, public school, September 2017 Feature - Skin Conditions, September 2017 Feature - Visible Special Needs, Skin Conditions, TVI, visible special need 2 Comments

Emily loves dolls, dress-up, panda bears, ballet, singing while playing her brother’s ukulele upside down, blowing bubbles, Disney World, soccer, and “preaching” to us from her children’s Bible. She has a quick wit and makes us laugh every day. And, she was born with a condition called albinism. And that’s really it. Albinism is just …Read More

Trusting My Instincts

July 19, 2017 ABA therapy, Attachment, attachment activities, attachment challenges, autism, cocooning, developmental delays, Developmental System, early intervention, Education, Family Stories, IEP, indiscriminate affection, occupational therapy, speech delay, speech therapy 1 Comments

My husband Derrick and I had been married for almost eight years when, in the summer of 2015, our path to parenthood ultimately led us to adopt from the China Special Needs program. Up to that point, we had never considered what life would be like for our growing family outside of the “typical” narrative. …Read More

He Will Provide: Part Two

April 3, 2017 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, brain injury, ESL, Family Stories, older child adoption, public school, undiagnosed SN 4 Comments

I have needed regular reminders since we brought David and Daniel home to keep trusting that – because our adoption was God’s miracle – He will provide all that we need. God has been helping me to keep holding on to hope and to keep believing that His plans for our family are always good. …Read More

Research, Reach Out, Advocate: Adopting a Child with Dual-Sensory Loss

December 13, 2016 December 2016 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, glaucoma, hearing aids, hearing loss, IEP, public school, Sensory System, vision loss 3 Comments

Princess. Uniquely and wonderfully made. Perfect. One of a kind. (Actually, 1 of 347 in our state and 9,574 in the U.S.*) All words to describe our daughter Lily who joined our family in January of 2013. Her file stated bilateral congenital glaucoma. Fast forward three years… and she is legally blind, wears a sclera …Read More

Reach for the Stars: Adopting a Child with Vision Impairment

December 1, 2016 adopting a boy, December 2016 Feature - Sensory, Family Stories, nystagmus, older child adoption, opaque cornea, public school, Sensory System, TVI, vision issues, vision loss 0 Comments

It was the second time in his life to ride on an airplane. The first time was only ten months ago when he traveled the 16 hour flight from China to America. On that first flight he was a scared, angry little fighter whose only concern was protecting himself. Now he was a happy, calm …Read More

When Mom Works: Juggling Work and Therapy

October 21, 2016 Attachment, Childcare scenarios, early intervention, Education, IEP, nanny, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, pre-school, public school, working mom 0 Comments

Navigating work and being a mom is tough under the best of circumstances, but it can feel even more daunting when you toss in the complex issues that accompany parenting your newly adopted child. So this month on No Hands But Ours, some been-there-done-that working mamas are here to help, with advice on everything from …Read More

From School Psychologist to Adoptive Mama: A Series Part One (An Introduction to Special Education Law)

October 12, 2016 504 Plan, Amy A., early intervention, Education, IEP, pre-school, private school, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

For as long as I can remember, I dreamt about the different careers I might have someday. For a long time, I wanted to be an artist. I loved to color, create, paint, and design, and I thought spending my life doing just that would be a dream come true. Then, as I fell in …Read More

When Mom Works: Getting Comfortable with Daycare

October 10, 2016 Childcare scenarios, daycare, early intervention, Education, IFSP, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, pre-school, private school, working mom 3 Comments

Navigating work and being a mom is tough under the best of circumstances, but it can feel even more daunting when you toss in the complex issues that accompany parenting your newly adopted child. So this month on No Hands But Ours, some been-there-done-that working mamas are here to help, with advice on everything from …Read More

When Mom Works: Every Single One Needs a Family

October 5, 2016 albinism, declining a referral, Family Stories, October 2016 Feature - Working Moms, referral, Skin Conditions, TVI, waiting for referral, working mom 20 Comments

Navigating work and being a mom is tough under the best of circumstances, but it can feel even more daunting when you toss in the complex issues that accompany parenting your newly adopted child. So this month on No Hands But Ours, some been-there-done-that working mamas are here to help, with advice on everything from …Read More

Making the Grade: Special Education and Adoption

September 30, 2016 agenesis of the corpus callosum, autism, brain damage syndrome, cerebral palsy, cognitive delay, developmental delays, early intervention, Education, hypothyroidism, IEP, institutional autism, non-verbal, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 1 Comments

It’s September which means school is back in session. And this month at No Hands But Ours, it’s all about Education. From IEPs to OT, from homeschooling to Early Intervention, we’re covering the gamut of educational topics and how they relate to the unique needs of the children who have joined our families through adoption. …Read More

Making the Grade: Exporing Special Education Service Options

September 27, 2016 adopting a boy, adopting two at once, cl/cp, Craniofacial, early intervention, Education, feeding/swallowing therapy, IEP, occupational therapy, physical therapy, pre-school, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School, speech therapy 1 Comments

It’s September which means school is back in session. And this month at No Hands But Ours, it’s all about Education. From IEPs to OT, from homeschooling to Early Intervention, we’re covering the gamut of educational topics and how they relate to the unique needs of the children who have joined our families through adoption. …Read More

Not Really a Special Need: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 26, 2016 adopting a boy, albinism, Family Stories, nystagmus, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, TVI, vision issues 0 Comments

No Hands But Ours is focusing on skin conditions this month. My son has albinism, but I hesitated to write our story. Heck, our dermatologist has discharged us. If my son ever has a suspicious mole or a serious burn, we’ll go back. Otherwise, I am capable of – the dermatologist pointed out – totally …Read More

Making the Grade: High Fives and Fist Bumps Instead of Hugs, Please

September 25, 2016 attachment challenges, Education, indiscriminate affection, Kelly, pre-school, private school, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

I still remember her. She was the best. My 1st grade self loved her big smile and her early 80s old-lady perm. Everyday, she’d stand by the classroom door at the end of the day and hug each and every one of us. I was excited to go to school everyday because of her and her …Read More

Making the Grade: Links for Parents of Kids with Special Needs Part Two

September 20, 2016 504 Plan, early intervention, Education, ESL, feeding challenges, feeding/swallowing therapy, first year home, IEP, Jennifer B., occupational therapy, physical therapy, public school, Sensory Processing Issues, September 2016 Feature - Back to School, speech therapy 0 Comments

It’s September which means school is back in session. And this month at No Hands But Ours, it’s all about Education. From IEPs to OT, from homeschooling to Early Intervention, we’re covering the gamut of educational topics and how they relate to the unique needs of the children who have joined our families through adoption. …Read More

Making the Grade: Links for Parents of Kids with Special Needs

September 18, 2016 504 Plan, early intervention, Education, ESL, homeschool, IEP, Jennifer B., pre-school, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

It’s September which means school is back in session. And this month at No Hands But Ours, it’s all about Education. From IEPs to OT, from homeschooling to Early Intervention, we’re covering the gamut of educational topics and how they relate to the unique needs of the children who have joined our families through adoption. …Read More

Our Fair-Haired Hero: Adopting a Child with Albinism

September 17, 2016 albinism, Education, Family Stories, older child adoption, public school, September 2016 Feature - Skin Conditions, Skin Conditions, TVI, vision issues 0 Comments

Her name was spoken to us before we even knew who she was…. We had adopted from China in 2011 and just started the process to adopt again. One night I let myself start thinking about names for our new little one and after spending more time than I care to admit looking at baby …Read More

Making the Grade: Educating Liam

September 12, 2016 adopting a boy, Education, ESL, older child adoption, public school, September 2016 Feature - Back to School 0 Comments

It’s September which means school is back in session. And this month at No Hands But Ours, it’s all about Education. From IEPs to OT, from homeschooling to Early Intervention, we’re covering the gamut of educational topics and how they relate to the unique needs of the children who have joined our families through adoption. …Read More

Top 10 Signs it’s Back to School

August 29, 2016 adoption realities, Education, IEP, Mandy, pre-school, private school, public school, trauma 2 Comments

Trauma mamas and babas, our kids are headed back to school. And this season of life causes us to rejoice that summer is over while also fearing the change in routine for our kids from hard places. You know it is back to school time when — 10. You debate what to share, if to …Read More

Wisdom From the Village Teacher

October 18, 2015 Education, IELP, IEP, October 2015 Feature - It Takes a Village, public school 0 Comments

“It takes a village to raise a child.” – African proverb Whether you are a working mom, single mom, stay-at-home, or homeschooling mom, one thing is for sure… you find out quickly that you cannot rely on your own strength to provide for your children and family. Being a mom to six children while working …Read More

Most Frequently Asked Questions About Adopting a Child With Down Syndrome

October 7, 2015 developmental delays, Developmental System, Down syndrome, Education, IEP, October 2015 Feature - Developmental, physical therapy, public school, speech delay, speech therapy 6 Comments

October has always been my favorite month of the year. I love everything about the cooler temperatures, family time carving pumpkins and roasting marshmallows over a backyard fire. October is also Down syndrome awareness month, and as a Ds adoption advocate, this is one more reason for me to love October. Since adopting my daughter …Read More

The Back to School Post

August 29, 2015 Education, Kelly, public school 0 Comments

I don’t think our school district fully grasps the whole paperless concept. I’m staring at a stack of forms they’ve called “children’s homework” that I must complete. Somehow, the paperwork required to send our children to public school each year feels like we’re assembling an entire dossier. There’s even a fingerprinting form somewhere in this …Read More

A Back-to-School Letter

August 27, 2015 Carrie, Education, hearing loss, pre-school, public school, speech delay 2 Comments

Dear Teachers, Here we go! The start of a new year! First of all, you both have my great admiration. I do not know how you do it. The energy, patience, and creativity it takes to shape, mold, and sometimes just wrangle a whole crew of almost-three-year-olds is something I do not possess. I’m so …Read More

Her Journey.

July 7, 2015 Education, Family Stories, IEP, July 2015 Feature - Craniofacial, Nicole, public school, speech delay, speech therapy 0 Comments

I recently looked back at my blog archives and noticed that I hadn’t blogged about Sunshine’s cleft journey in over a year! Although that is representative of surgeries, it surely isn’t representative of all the work she’s been doing. My sweet girl has been putting forth so much effort in speech therapy. So although the …Read More

Perfectly Made

April 9, 2013 clubfoot, developmental delays, Education, IEP, Nancy, public school 1 Comments

Dear IEP team members, As the mama to the little girl that we just spent over an hour talking about, I want to say more than our 60-minute time slot allowed. IEP meetings are hard. {That may be the understatement of the year.} They suck. For a parent, sometimes it feels like IEP meetings are a laundry list of how …Read More

The Best Christmas Present Ever

January 11, 2013 developmental delays, early intervention, Education, IEP, Nancy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, public school, speech delay, speech therapy 6 Comments

I stood in the back of Tess’s kindergarten classroom with the other proud parents and looked on as my 5-year-old daughter performed in the class’s “holiday show”. Her part was a simple song with just a few lines and hand movements to go with it. She didn’t know all the hand movements… just like the …Read More

TAKE THAT Speech Delay!

October 27, 2012 cl/cp, Education, IEP, public school, speech delay, speech therapy, velopharyngeal Insufficiency, Wife of the Prez 4 Comments

Never did I imagine even a year ago that our just-turned 7-year-old daughter would be preparing for a big solo on the rather large stage at our church. Never did I imagine even a few weeks ago when the children were told they could try out for solos and/or speaking parts in the 1st and …Read More

Spread Your Wings… But Don’t Fly Too Far

August 17, 2012 Education, Kelley, older child adoption, public school 2 Comments

On Monday, Caroline (our adopted 13-year-old) will experience her first day of middle school. While she’s admitted to being nervous once before, she now seems confident and ready. She’s decorated her locker, memorized her schedule, and organized her school supplies. We’re fortunate to be carpooling with another family (who incidentally has an adopted daughter Caroline’s …Read More

A Journey to an IEP

October 26, 2010 Education, IEP, public school, speech delay, Wife of the Prez 0 Comments

Wow. Shock. Joy. Sadness. R.E.L.I.E.F Developmental Delay. How should I feel? I’m not sure, but the overriding feeling today is RELIEF. We have a starting point, a place from which to MOVE FORWARD. On Thursday, my baby boy, our little five-year-old son will begin a new journey. Complete with an IEP (Individualized Education PLAN). Back …Read More

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